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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

MES 2.03 Introduction to the Modern Middle East and North Africa

The diverse nations and peoples that make up the Middle East and North Africa are of major significance in our contemporary world, at the same time that they are often misunderstood or given only superficial (albeit spectacular) popular attention. This lecture course is designed to give students a nuanced introductory overview of the modern histories of this region. Students will read a variety of primary and secondary materials designed to familiarize them with the historical, cultural, and social processes that have affected and transformed the region in question, and will learn to put these regional histories in a global framework. The course begins with a brief summary of the early modern Islamicate “Gunpowder” Empires—Mughal, Safavid/Qajar, Ottoman—and then moves through several topics of significance: the era of European colonialism; the establishment of the nation state; competing discourses of nationalism; the emergence of Third Worldist and anti-colonial movements; the Israeli- Palestinian conflict; debates over the politics of gender; the effects of the Cold War; the processes of decolonization and the establishment of post-colonial states; the rise of revolutionary Islamism; oil politics and policies; globalization and neoliberalism; 9/11, terrorism, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Arab uprisings of 2010-2011; and the region’s uncertain present and future.



Cross Listed Courses

HIST 04.03

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:SOC; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


  • Fall
  • Spring